I recently watched a video in which a chemist (who goes by the nickname “NurdRage”) activated a chemiluminescent reaction by vapor deposition. I wanted to try it out for myself! Unfortunately, oxalyl chloride is toxic, corrosive, and a lachrymator. Thus, the experiment conducted by NurdRage needs to be conducted in a hood, and it is not particularly amenable to simple presentations. I began to wonder how I could create this vapor activated chemiluminescence using simple materials.
In Chemical Mystery #10, plastic straws are observed to “magically” change color when waved in the air. Check out the explanation and the video.
In this simple trick, colors are made to "magically" appear and disappear on a straw. This science experiment is very easy to do...if you know your chemistry!
If rhubarb stem is placed in a solution of permanganate, the purple permanganate ion is reduced to the colorless Mn2+ ion. It is thought that the oxalic acid present in rhubarb causes this reduction. The investigations presented in this post provide evidence that this may not be the whole story...
I think this experiment provides a fantastic vehicle to involve students of all ages in small, hands-on and exploratory research projects. Like many others, my students and I have investigated various aspects of this interesting fountain.
Are you familiar with the dynamic density bottle experiment? This interesting experiment was invented by Lynn Higgins, and is sold by various science supply companies. Two immiscible liquids (usually salt water and isopropyl alcohol) and two different types of plastic pieces are contained within a dynamic density bottle. The plastic pieces display curious floating and sinking behavior when the bottle is shaken.
The chemistry of the Sunflower dye found in McCormick’s Color from Nature food dyes is explored in this post. This is the last in a three-part series in which several experiments and demonstrations that can be done with Color from Nature food dyes are described.
The chemistry of the Berry dye found in McCormick's Color From Nature food colors is explored. This is part two of a three-part series in which the chemistry of McCormick's Color From Nature food colors is presented.
The chemistry of the Sky Blue dye found in McCormick's Color From Nature food colors is explored. This is part one of a three-part series in which the chemistry of McCormick's Color From Nature food colors is presented.
The solution to Chemical Mystery #9: Liquid Nitrogen vs. Dry Ice is presented. Why does liquid nitrogen launch the bucket so much higher than dry ice and water?